Blaine, Minn. (Saturday, July 19th, 2014) – Minnesota United FC defeated Premier League side Swansea City AFC 2-0 in an international friendly in front of a franchise record sellout of 9,064 fans at National Sports Center Stadium. First half goals by Justin Davis and Greg Jordan made the difference in the match.
Swansea began the match with controlling possession, but United was able to break through and create some chances early on against the run of play. United defender Justin Davis broke the deadlock early on in the 8th minute with a run down the left side of the pitch. Davis cut inside toward the Swans’ goal to pass into the middle of the box, but the ball was deflected back at him. Davis collected the ball with poise and slotted the shot past Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel to give Minnesota an early 1-0 lead.
United doubled its lead in the 44th minute just before halftime when Greg Jordan and Christian Ramirez capitalized on a defensive error by Swansea. Ramirez was able to steal the ball on a bad pass by the Swans defense and played a laser accurate through ball to Greg Jordan who was sprinting towards goal. Jordan was all alone with Tremmel as he easily finessed the ball past the keeper and into the waiting goal.
“We came out in the first half wanting to play soccer, and there were some moments where we got out shape defensively, created some chances and scored. The second half we really had to absorb some of their possession, not a lot of great chances, but we were really dangerous on the counter so they didn’t commit too many men forward. As the game went on we were really confident we were going to get a shutout.”
Both teams made changes at half, with Swansea swapping out a majority of their players. The substitutions did not cool the tempers that had begun to flare up during the game. The second half of the match had numerous fouls for both sides and two yellow cards given to Swansea players Chico Flores and Kyle Bartley.
Minnesota made several more changes in the second half, including bringing on trialist Abdeil Arroyo. Arroyo made his presence known by creating two scoring chances late in the match, neither of which found the back of the net.
“There wasn’t much good tonight for us, but credit to Minnesota to winning the game,” said Garry Monk, Head Coach for Swansea. “It’s been a very good two weeks for us and I think we can’t let tonight deter from what a successful two weeks it has been for us in America. I knew it would be a tough game for us and I knew our energy levels would be sky high from playing against a so-called bigger side. The motivation is much better to do well with the big crowd in for themselves we knew it would be a tough night.”
The 9,064 hometown faithful cheered United on to victory over the Premier League side and erupted with applause as the final whistle blew.
“I thought it was a great performance by our guys,” said United defender Justin Davis. “We came out with a short rest from Thursday against a real quality team and we had raised our level a bit and I think we showed that today. It’s going to help us in the league - we’re 2-0 in the Fall Season and coming off this win against a quality opponent we’re just gonna keep rolling with things and take this to Atlanta next week.”
Minnesota United gets back to North American Soccer League play next Saturday hoping to remain on top of the table as it heads to Atlanta to face the Silverbacks, July 26th at Silverbacks Park. Fans can tune into the game via NASL.com. United follows this encounter with another historic match as it hosts Ottawa Fury at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus in a match following the Guinness International Championship Series match between Premier League Champions Manchester City and Greek powerhouse Olympiacos.